The Professional

  • Review Date: December 7, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Stylish, mature hitman thriller is quite violent.
  • Review Date: December 7, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 109 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters on both sides of the law engage in criminal or immoral behavior, including killing, drug dealing, and mob activity. The main character, a hitman, is portrayed as an otherwise caring soul who tries to rise to the challenge when he must protect a little girl. Law-enforcement characters are portrayed as crooked and more morally bankrupt than the film's criminals.


Graphic violence throughout, including murder, shooting, explosions. A knife is held to a man's throat; people have guns pointed at them or held to them. A man who's been badly wounded in a shootout launches grenades strapped to his body, causing a massive explosion that kills both him and his nemesis. A little girl is abused (slapped, hit) by members of her family. She is seen with a black eye and a bloody nose. While standing in the shower, a man stitches up a bloody wound on his chest.


At times there's a rather creepy undercurrent of sexual chemistry between a grown man and a young girl. When a hotel desk clerk asks her about her male guardian, she lies, saying, "He's my lover."


Many uses of words like "f--k," ass, and "bitch."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Various characters drink, smoke, and take drugs. Kilos of cocaine are shown. A 12-year-old girl is seen smoking cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this action thriller includes some scenes of extreme violence, including one in which a family -- including a 4-year-old boy -- is brutally gunned down in their home. There are also explosions, abuse (of a 12-year-old), and more. The 12-year-old girl develops an unusual relationship with a much older hitman (who teaches her his trade); there's an undercurrent of chemistry between them. Strong language includes "f--k" and "bitch"; characters also drink and smoke.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In THE PROFESSIONAL, reclusive New York City hitman Leon (Jean Reno) lets his nurturing side come out after rescuing 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman). Leon, who has lived like a hermit for years, discovers a strong paternal instinct when he takes the girl in. Mathilda's abusive upbringing has hardened her to violence and forced her to grow up fast, yet she's still youthful enough to love dress-up games and puppet shows. But his young charge often seems more worldly and calculating than her surrogate father figure. In fact, Mathilda makes a deal with Leon: He'll teach her how to be an assassin, and she'll take care of all the housekeeping duties. Their life includes everyday activities like cooking and cleaning, as well as lessons in firing a sniper rifle from a rooftop. Their mutual goal? Revenge against a group of thugs who performed a vicious act of violence against Mathilda's family.

Is it any good?


Leon lavishes TLC on his cherished houseplant. Every day he carefully waters it, polishes its leaves, and arranges it just so on a sunny ledge. The symbolism is undeniable: Here is a man who kills people for a living but harbors a gentle soul and even a strict code of professional ethics ("no women, no kids").

Co-star Gary Oldman is chilling as a psychotic, corrupt DEA agent with a habit of popping pills right before his crooked team's various raids. And in her first major film role, Portman gives an intelligent and surprisingly mature performance. Reno, meanwhile, is quietly menacing in his hitman mode and awkwardly affectionate in his father-figure role.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media tends to portray "good guys" and "bad guys." Are real people either all bad or all good -- or is it more complicated than that? How do you feel about the movies' tendency to portray gangsters' and criminals' "sensitive side"? Does that excuse their bad behavior?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 14, 1994
DVD release date:February 24, 1998
Cast:Gary Oldman, Jean Reno, Natalie Portman
Director:Luc Besson
Run time:109 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:scenes of strong graphic violence, and for language.

This review of The Professional was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Adult Written byLauraEve August 17, 2011


Violence is current throughout the film. There are scenes near the start of the film where some women are dressed inappropriately, there is also a short shot of two people having sex, although there is no nudity. The 12 year old girl also wears some revealing clothes and tries to seduce the main character who is an adult. It can be quite uncomfortable to watch.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009
Teen, 14 years old Written byCWG1 June 21, 2013

Amazing movie, but might be to overwhelming for some!

Personally when I was told to see this I didn't want too. Once I got around to it I regretted not watching it earlier. This movie was just flat-out amazing. This was the beginning of Natalie Portman's career and I don't doubt it for a second. Some people however might not like this movie because it does contain some violence that ranges from mild to strong, and it has a shoot out towards the end. Some people will be disturbed by the killing of Matilda's family which may scare some of the younger kids. This movie does contain the F word and other swear's, but not as bad as most R rated movies. There is talk of drugs, and they show a man holding some, but he was not using it. Throughout the movie Matilda and Leon have this sexual tension feel even though nothing happens between them, which may upset some viewers. I feel that a mature 11 year old can handle it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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